Re: Diversity in Cohousing
From: Racheli Gai (
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 12:39:01 -0600 (MDT)
>From Racheli

Yes.  The idea that people who come to cohousing need some prior
experience with community, or at least a strong motivation *does* limit
diversity.  However if a group chooses as a top priority to spoon-feed
these people, obviously lots of other things will fall by the wayside,
which would also limiet diversity.  ie: no group can be all things to all
people, and any set of choices limits those who would be attracted,
therefore limiting diversity.  
Even on the theoretical level (before we get into the issue of  how
difficult it is to build a community, and what kind of a huge extra load
of work wanting to cater to the group of people Sharon alludes to would
create) - I don't see a way out of it. And as I mentioned in a previous
post in this thread, I don't see why wanting to attract  *everybody* is
something positive.  It seems to me that a group needs to discuss who they
want to target (and clarify why),  and then attempt  to attract those

As to the alleged "victims" at the end of Sharon's post, I wasn't aware we
were discussing any such people, and I certainly wasn't blaming anyone: 
Probably most people who come and check out any cohousing group are not
serious candidates.  This isn't "blaming" them: It's ok to come and have a
look at things in a superficial manner.  This doesn't mean, though, that
we need to beat ourselves over the head if and when casual
observers/visitors don't join.

>For people who have already had good experiences with groups and shared
>community activities, this is a reasonable assumption. But many people
>have had no experience or bad experience. Many people are not able to
>present their needs to a group -- many may not really know what they are
>or don t' know how to articulate them. To present them to a group of
>strangers talking about a concept like cohousing that they have never
>heard of before is not possible for them.

>One could argue that in this case they would not be good candidates for
>cohousing but that again limits diversity in cohousing. If we feel that
>cohousing is a good way to live, we may have to be a bit more proactive
>in reaching out to people who attend just one meeting and don't return.

>This is certainly difficult when there is so much work to do but the fact
>remains some people who would be very good members of cohousing
>communities are not included because of the ways that cohousing is
>presented, however, unwittingly. This limits the building of new
>communities in ways that I'm not sure are necessary to preserving the
>integrity of cohousing.

>With the inexperienced presenting to the even more inexperienced,
>misunderstandings and artificial barriers are inevitable, and limit
>diversity. Blaming the victim is not always the best answer.


jnpalme [at] (Racheli Gai)

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